Restaurant of the Week: Artizen

Restaurant of the Week: Artizen

A refined, yet fun atmosphere and creative menu make Artizen, Crafted American Kitchen & Bar, located at The Camby Hotel in the Biltmore neighborhood of Phoenix, an excellent choice for a wide range of occasions.

One of the best features about Artizen is its ability to be whatever you need it to be on any given night. If you want to watch a playoff game in a classier locale than the average sports pub, the bar at Artizen has you covered. For date night, Artizen can ramp up the romance and provide you with a memorable experience. Artizen is a perfect spot for a business dinner as well – whether it’s a small gathering celebrating a closing or a larger group in town for meetings. It’s classy without feeling stuffy and the dining room is commodious. Even during the day, the Artizen Coffee Bar offers a pleasant escape for a coffee break.

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The wine list at Artizen is sprawling. They feature a variety of grapes and styles with California heavily represented. During our visit, our server Jeff did a wonderful job of pairing each course with the right selection. His expertise and enjoyment was apparent and if you have an opportunity to dine with various wines, you’ll enjoy the experience of having your server – especially if it’s Jeff – do the pairing for you. The beer list is small but features some quality choices by both local and national brewers. We were so excited to have wines paired with each course that we didn’t get to enjoy any of the crafted cocktails, but the list features many lesser-known classic concoctions that likely live up to the rest of the evening’s fare.

The dinner menu is split into the “snack” and “soil” sections, the “Artizen Entrees”, and the “Butcher’s Block”. If you are at the bar, you can choose to eat from a limited bar menu. There are also breakfast, brunch and lunch menus depending on when you visit Artizen.

The “snack” section features everything from cornbread to the cheese and charcuterie board. The yellowtail crudo is prepared wafer-thin and seems to melt the second it hits your mouth. Spice is provided by the fresno chili and yuzu vinaigrette. This is one of the dishes where the art in Artizen really comes out. There’s definitely a focus on presentation and visual appeal here. Jeff’s pairing of an off-dry roussanne elevated both the wine and the dish. The Parisian gnocchi is served with sweetbreads – an underused delicacy that adds a touch of fried savoriness to the delicate gnocchi. Other snacking highlights include the crab salad with a zesty lemon vinaigrette and the crispy baby back ribs.

The “soil” selections are a vegetarian’s dream (except for the two potato dishes). Many of the selections are also gluten-free and clearly marked as such. A variety of different vegetables are joined by a wide range of spices and sauces to make each dish feel special. The brussel sprouts explode with flavor and are paired with a spectacular Caesar dressing.

The entrees include a lamb neck bucatini, loup de mer, poached snapper and fried chicken. Chef de Cuisine Michael Winneker chose for us the diver scallops and the Niman Ranch pork chop. The scallops have a touch of caramelization and are served with what Artizen calls a “spring” puree. There’s a delicate balance and flavor in the dish that scallops frequently fail to find. The pork chop includes a subtle pasilla barbecue sauce that lets the natural taste of the bone-in chop shine. It’s served with a mix of Arizona mushrooms that lend an earthiness to the savory meat.

Dessert continues the blend of taste with good looks. Pastry chef Julie Emiliano creates a variety of desserts that look almost too good to eat. The colorful passion goat cheese cheesecake is delightful and a perfect dessert to split at the end of the night. The chocolate espresso tiramisu is just as beautiful but we found it wasn’t as appropriate for sharing – because we were fighting over it. The dessert list includes a list of ports and digestif.

Artizen is open daily for breakfast, serves brunch on the weekends, lunch and happy hour Monday through Friday and dinner is served Monday through Saturday. To see all the menus, complete hours and for more information, visit artizenaz.com.

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